Special protection shield for plants: Carotenoids

Plants collect energy from the sun by the help of chlorophylls and carotenoids, which are the molecules catching photons. If plants are exposed to too much sun, these molecules suck in more energy than they can handle and produce bombs that can destroy the plant. This process shows that too much sun may be as dangerous to plants as it is to human beings. However in order to prevent combustion our All-Mighty Allah created plants with extraordinarily complex defense mechanisms. With this amazing system plants employ almost an electrical sun shield to protect themselves against the harmful rays of the sun.

Carotenoids: Cables that draw sun rays away from the plant

A research carried out in Arizona Biodesign Institute delivered results about how plants get rid of excess solar energy. For this end, plants use carotenoids, the molecules which are responsible for giving the yellow color to fruits and vegetables.

Carotenoids which are 2.8 nanometer in length are the cables 10.000 times smaller than the width of a strand. This piece of information deserves mention here: the prevention of a plant from burning becomes possible by drawing the harmful sun ray away by making its getting through a cable 10 thousand times thinner than a strand.

How do carotenoids work?

Researches thought that during the process of protection against rays, carotenoids lost an electron and got oxidized or changed. However recent researches revealed that, without getting oxidized themselves, these molecules transmit the sun ray which is in the electron form to the other side. That is, these amazing molecules that work like cables do not get oxidized themselves while they carry out these transactions. Scientists state that this system also exists on the spinach leaves and they are as sensitive as almost reacting to clouds passing above. According to scientists these are one of the perfect examples of engineering at nano dimensions in nature.

But how such a thin cable does not reduce to ashes under the effect of such a harmul ray? How does such a gentle and thin structure remain unaffected from the scorching sun ray?

No doubt this amazing structure and this multi-staged process that takes place at unusually short intervals like in picoseconds (one trillionth of a second) and even in femtosecond (one thousandth of a nanosecond) is one of the obvious examples of our Lord’s Might. In the Qur’an Allah states that there are signs in the plants that He created for those who have faith:


It is He Who sends down water from the sky from which We bring forth growth of every kind, and from that We bring forth the green shoots and from them We bring forth close-packed seeds, and from the spathes of the date palm date clusters hanging down, and gardens of grapes and olives and pomegranates, both similar and dissimilar. Look at their fruits as they bear fruit and ripen. There are Signs in that for people who believe. (Surat al-An‘am, 99)


EurekAlert - 22-Haziran-2006
Berkeley lab. - Research News - 20 Ocak 2005
Science AAAS - 21 Ocak 2005


2010-12-25 20:56:44

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